In the News


Legumes bulk up

AS commercialisation nears for several resultant pulse products, including the 2004-05 release of ascochyta blight resistant, the University of Western Australia-based Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture has launched its 2001-02 Biennial Report to update growers and industry stakeholders on the progress of legume research.

TWO years after its commercial launch, CLIMA has played host to 23 postgraduate scientists conducting 50 research projects into legume performance.

CLIMA was created as a research alliance between the WA Department of Agriculture, UWA, CSIRO and Murdoch University after its cooperative research centre phase concluded in 2000. It now has more external funding than when it was a CRC.

Besides large export markets, domestic pulse consumption is expanding – largely due to a healthy eating push.

CLIMA director Kadambot Siddique said further human consumption markets could emerge as the organisation’s scientists participated in research to harvest legumes for isoflavones capable of prohibiting cancer cell growth.

These expanding markets are complementing the value of legumes to cropping systems where they can fix atmospheric nitrogen and lift subsequent wheat yields by up to 500kg/ha.


Lamb in focus

THE Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics has released a report on the Australian prime lamb industry.

The overall size of the Australian sheep flock has declined by more than one third in the past 15 years.

Slaughter of lambs fell in the 10 years to 1996 but increased thereafter as producers attempted to improve sheep returns by diversifying into prime lambs.

In the four years to 2002 slaughter numbers increased to the record in the late 1980s before poor seasons cut numbers in 2001 and 2002.

Overall, lamb production has increased by 17 per cent and while only 30 per cent of wool producers sold lambs for slaughter in 1992, by 2002 this proportion had risen to 47 per cent.


No brickbats for offer

BRISTILE Ltd has told its shareholders to accept the revised Brickworks Limited takeover offer, in the absence of a higher one, on or before July 18 – even though the acceptance date would make them ineligible to receive the 22.5 cents a share dividend that falls due on July 31.

In a letter to shareholders Bristile company secretary Paul Depiazzi says Brickworks has reached an agreement with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that allows it to compensate Bristile shareholders that take their takeover offer by July 18 the additional consideration of 22.5 cents a share.

Mr Depiazzi says the independent directors of Bristile recommend that shareholders seek their own professional financial or tax advice to assess whether their interests are best served by accepting the offer before or after July 18.

"Shareholders and investors need also be aware that their valid acceptance must be received by Brickworks’ share registry in Sydney before the close of business on July 18 (and not simply put in the mail by that date) if they wish to accept the offer so as to receive an additional payment of 22.5 cents rather than the 22.5 cents per share fully franked dividend," he said.


Xanadu appoints US and UK distributors

XANADU Wines has appointed beverage distributor Drinks America to market and distribute its Normans and NXG brands in the US.

It has also appointed new distributors Brand Phoenix to reintroduce its Normans brand as 150 year old premium wine brand to the UK market.

Xanadu senior vice-president trading – Americas will oversee the launch of the company’s brands into the US and work with Drinks America.

He said the company planned to launch the Norman’s brand to catch the peak wine selling season this year.

It will also be positioned as one of Australia’s oldest wine brands in the US.

Xanadu general manager of trading Sam Atkins said the changes meant the company could now consolidate its South Australian brands into one distribution network.


United Energy shareholders on board

UNITED Energy shareholders have voted in favour of the resolution to approve a scheme of arrangement under which they will receive $3.15 a share for the acquisition of their shares by Alinta and entities managed by AMP Henderson (via Power Partnership).

The scheme now requires court approval and the satisfaction of certain conditions.

If court approval is obtained and the conditions precedent satisfied then United Energy shareholders can expect their cheques to be in the mail by July 30.

Alinta CEO Bob Browning said the scheme of arrangement was an important part of the company’s plan to become an operator, manager and part owner of about $4 billion in regulated energy assets.

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